Is it too soon to declare the new Congress a failure?
Ever since their midterm election triumph, Republicans have talked tough about cutting spending. Here's hoping they make good on those promises, but they spouted the same tough talk after their 1994 election triumph and look what happened.
Back then the GOP revolutionaries targeted more than 200 programs for complete and utter elimination. They scored some minor victories (adios helium fund!), but a decade into their "revolution" (and after they gained a Republican president) inflation-adjusted spending on the combined budgets of the 101 largest programs slated for elimination actually increased by 27 percent. And since then total federal spending has continued to soar, so why should we take Republicans seriously this time?
The countdown to disappointment starts now.
Approximately 82 seconds.
Written and produced by Ted Balaker. Music by Ambient Teknology (Magnatune Records).
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey sez:
I have no problem with rational skepticism when it comes to political claims and eventual outcomes, but usually I'd like for a fight to get started before I declare it a failure.
He explains why this time there may be reason for more optimism (or less pessimism) and reminds us that the GOP did, at least initially, show some backbone in 1995. The government shutdown was a showdown over spending, after all.
Fair enough, but recall that spending increased more under Clinton's second term than during his first, and that many of today's biggest budget busters (Medicare Part D, Homeland Security, two wars, TARP) were Bush-started and Boehner-approved.